Re: Obama on testing
The response of the Democratically control legislature was to pass a measure removing the ban on using test scores for evaluation of teachers. Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell testified in favor of this proposal. One argument seemed to be that the scores can't be used to get rid of teachers. On the other hand, the argument that this kind of discussion and legislation only serves to continue the same, failed accountability model doesn't seem to have much support.
Governor Doyle quickly signed the measure into law so that Wisconsin can compete for the "Race to the Top" funding.
The state is moving away from the standardized test known as the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam to something else, but it is likely to be some other standardized instrument, this being the only model that many believe represents accountability. It's easy to put test scores on the front page with appropriate headline summing up the year's teaching and learning efforts in one neat story.
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> Subject: [arn-l] Obama on testing
> Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 16:06:59 -0500
> I am not sure this went around earlier, but here is text from Obama speech in Madison WI on Nov 4. Says some of the right things on testing (less so on other points), but will it matter, can we make it matter?
> But what we want to do -- what we want to do is finally get testing right. So it's not about more tests, it's about being smarter about our assessments. It's about measuring not only whether our kids can master the basics, but whether they can solve challenging tasks, do they have the skills like critical thinking and teamwork and entrepreneurship; assessments that don't just give us a snapshot of how a student is doing in a particular subject, but a big picture look at how they're learning overall; and assessments that will help tell us if our kids have the knowledge and the skills to thrive when they graduate.
> So we're not just interested in can they fill out a bubble. What we want to do is to take a look generally -- are kids learning and gaining the critical thinking skills that they need to succeed. Now, these are the kinds of assessments that our states should be putting in place, and we're setting up a separate competition where they can win grants, extra grants to help them do just that.
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